TL;DR – A film that is a pure delight from start to finish.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this movie.
Luca Review –
We have a longing for those moments in our childhood when everything seemed to come together. I think this is an almost universal drive in people, the place and location might be different, but that drive is still the same. Today we look at a film that captures this drive and crafts it into a narrative that will delight.
So to set the scene, once evening off the coast of the Italian Riviera, two fishermen decide to fish close to Isola del Mare even though the reputation that monsters surround it, which was sort of true because around the island live a village of sea people. Among the sea people/monsters is Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay), who lives with his family herding goatfish. However, one day in the fields, a human approached collecting the flotsam on the bottom of the ocean. Luca runs but soon finds that this is not a human but another sea person called Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer). Alberto lives on the surface in a tower because once a sea person leaves the water, they can turn into a human when they dry out.
TL;DR – This visually stunning film is held back by unneeded musical moments that feel more like filler than integral.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this movie.
Encanto Review –
Animation is a medium that, when used to its best, can radically transform your experience of a story, but which is usually related to being a lower form of filmmaking. Today we look at a film that uses the strengths of animation but then also feels like the medium held it back from its true potential.
So to set the scene, 50-years before the start of the film, the Madrigal family and their community were on the run from enemies, and just when they were surrounded, and all was lost, magic happened. A magic candle created a sanctuary for the community and a sentient house and gave the family magical powers. This continued from Abuela Alma Madrigal (María Cecilia Botero) to her daughters and grandchildren. However, when it was Mirabel’s (Noemi Josefina Flores) turn, there was no magic power for her. Now grown up, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) works to prove herself for the family as her cousin Camilo (Rhenzy Feliz) prepares to find his magical power. However, while things go well, cracks start appearing in the house, and soon all the magic is trouble.
TL;DR – A season of incredible highs and deep lows
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this season.
Rick and Morty Review –
At the best of times, Rick and Morty are one of those shows that are hard to contextualise on a season level. Each episode tends to fly so wildly into different territories that it makes finding a through-line difficult. However, this season is a little different, as you can divide the season into three relatively neat chunks. However, this is easy because there is a vast difference between this season’s high and low marks.
So to set the scene, we open Season Five’s Mort Dinner Rick Andre with things in dire straits. Rick (Justin Roiland) has been gravely wounded, and the spaceship is badly damaged. As Morty (Justin Roiland) carries Rick to the ship, all around them are crystals showing potential Ricks and Mortys, including them as Blade Rick and Morty, which is quote “tight”. As the spaceship crashes towards Earth, uncontrollable and on fire, Morty spends his last few moments calling Jessica (Kari Wahlgren) lamenting over what could have been. She suggests they go on a day tonight. Buoyed by that opportunity, Morty manages to save the day and splash lands the spaceship into one of Earth’s oceans, which should have been good but for the fact that it summons Mr Nimbus (Dan Harmon). Because we will be looking at the season as a whole, there will be [SPOILERS] ahead, especially for the season finale, so if you have not watched, please be aware before continuing.
TL;DR – A blast from the past that has unfortunately lost a bit of its sheen.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is an End Credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.
Space Jam Review –
When Space Jam first came out in cinemas, I was in primary school, and I can remember that it was a film that teachers would put on when they needed a break from us but not that much more. It has been over a decade since I have seen the film, and besides the occasional look at the old website, I hadn’t thought about it much. However, then they went and made a sequel. I felt I had to give it another watch for due diligence to see just what it was that captured people all those years ago.
So to set the scene, in 1973, a young Michal Jordan (Brandon Hammond) is practising at his home well after midnight. When talking to his dad, the one thing he wants to be is a champion and play on a championship team. One montage of Jordan’s career later, and a now champion Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) is retiring from basketball to join baseball. But on a planet in deep space, a theme park boss is Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), is trying to find a new attraction, and he decides to steal all the Looney Tunes. But instead of being captured, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) cons them into playing a basketball game for their freedom.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but like a lot of work went into the credits, and there are some snippets of stuff here and there.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie info here
The Mitchells vs. The Machines Review –
For the longest time, Sony Animation was this studio that shows immense potential, but they always seemed to be chasing trends, which never led them to make anything that stood out. The Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs showed they had potential, but then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came out of nowhere and exploded onto the screen. Now, Sony Animation was setting the trends, and it made me wonder where can they go next. Well, today, we get to see that with the charmingly odd The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
So to set the scene, the Mitchells are your standard quirky/dysfunctional family heading towards their first major crisis. As time has gone on, father Rick (Danny McBride) and daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) have become equally frustrated with each other, and no amount of work from mum Linda (Maya Rudolph) and brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) can fix this divide. However, Katie is about to go across the country to college, and if she leaves while the relationship is still broken, well, that could be irreparable damage. Well then, the family decides to make one last-ditch effort to fix the unfixable by going on a long road trip to drop Katie off at college, on the same week that techbro Mark Browman (Eric Andre) of PAL Labs inadvertently starts a robot invasion after upsetting his AI PAL (Olivia Colman).
Animation is a form of filmmaking that is often related to second-tier status, something just for kids. This is by both the organisations giving out the awards and also by the very guilds that are meant to be promoting their member’s work. However, they are not second-tier films, and in many ways, it is the animated films that are pushing the frontiers of filmmaking and what is possible, and they should be championed for the work that they do.
Animated films can be hand-drawn, stop/clay motion, computer-generated, it does not matter, but all of them show amazing techniques of hundreds of artists that bring the work to life.
So without further ado, these are the animated films that showed us the glory of animation in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banners to go to the full reviews of each of the films
Well, it has been a long, and let’s call it, interesting year, but today brings to a close our last reviewed of a film from 2020. To round out the year, it is time to look at Pixar’s next entry, and given we already had a strong movie in Onward this year. I came into Soul with some reasonably high expectations.
So to set the scene, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a high school music teacher, but his real passion is performing jazz. This puts him in conflict with his mother Libba (Phylicia Rashad) who wants him to have a stable job. Well, those two worlds are about to collide when he is offered a full-time position teaching while also getting the chance to perform with the famous Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). This would be a big decision for Joe if he didn’t then fall through an open manhole and wake up on the escalator to the other side.
There has been a couple of attempts in recent times to do the ‘what if the fantasy realm that you know was set in modern times’ and well, on the whole, they have been bad. But as a concept, it is solid, so I have been wondering if anyone would be able to pull it off. Well if anyone can do it, it is Pixar, and boy did they.
So to set the scene, Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is just an average teenage elf, winning math awards, learning how to drive, avoiding his brother Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) and trying to find friends. He is trying to find his place in the world with his brother, who is a bit of a screw-up, and his mother Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who is trying her best with the chaos. On his 16th birthday, their mother surprises them with a gift from their late father Wilden Lightfoot (Kyle Bornheimer) which turns out to be a magic staff and a spell, one that can bring him back, but only for one day.
There is this common misconception that animated films are somehow an inferior form of cinema, especially those slated for a younger demographic. However, this is simply just not the case, and several animated films over the last few years have proved that point. This week we get to see another movie enter that frame with the follow up to The Croods.
So to set the scene, we begin with a tragedy as Guy’s (Ryan Reynolds) parents get caught in a tar pit and force Guy to move on without him hoping to return to a mystical place known as tomorrow. Fast forward and a lot of time marching he runs into the Crood Family, father Grug (Nicolas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Eep (Emma Stone), son Thunk (Clark Duke), baby Sandy (Kailey Crawford), and grandma Gran (Cloris Leachman). They live a simple life of foraging for food and trying not to get eaten, but romance blossoms between Guy and Eep, much to Grug’s consignation. But everything changes when they find a big wall in the middle of the wilderness hiding mountains of food behind.
TL;DR – This is a strong entry into the Jurassic franchise leaning both into joy and terror of dinosaurs
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Review –
It should go without saying, I love Dinosaurs. I have loved them since I was a kid, and I still love them today. So I take whatever chance to watch, which unfortunately is few and far between. Well, today is one of those few times when I get to sit back and enjoy the world where Brachiosaurus loom over treetops, and you need to be careful at what goes bump in the night. [Insert T-Rex Roar sound here]
So to set the scene, we open with two people running through the jungle trying to reach an extraction before Raptors take one of them out. The other person who we see their point of view tries to escape before being cornered by a T-Rex. That is the point where the VR goggles come of, and we are introduced to Darius (Paul-Mikél Williams). He is trying to beat this apparently unbeatable game to win a ticket to Jurassic World’s new Camp Cretaceous because it was always his and his late dad’s dream to go. Well while tossing and turning in bed, he is woken from a dream and finally it all clicks, and he becomes the first person in the world to beat the game. With this, he books his ticket to Camp Cretaceous where absolutely nothing will go wrong … right …?